GAME WRITE UP: CENTRAL POWER NAVY STRATEGY!


  • 2020 2018 2017 '15

    Central Navy write up for one game played:

    Last weekend was my one weekend a year to play Axis & Allies, so we chose 1914. There were two major players, one intermediate, and one newb that could follow directions.
    I was the Ottoman/Austria-Hungary player. As Germany was the newb, I decided to try for the Central Power navy strategy. As I love strategy games, I’m going to write out what went down, what the strategies were as the game progressed, and what ultimately ended up. The game was called on Round 9 due to resounding luck removing hope of winning. Russia was on fire, and on at least two critical moments lit up the central powers.

    As the leader of the Central Powers, I can only state what our plan was, how we progressed and reacted. I can’t speak for what they were thinking save for interpretation from how they moved their pieces.

    STRATEGY:  Go heavy navy in the Baltic and the Med and gain control of SZ 17, while Austria leads a combined charge to take out Moscow. With added Russian money, Ottoman’s are down to one front vs the UK, Austria has one front with Italy, the ability to land anywhere while protecting the Ottomans from amphibs, and can offer Germany assistance as they’ll most likely need support spending so much on Navy. I think any winnable strategy should involve taking out Russia to make it a 1-front war for the CP.

    GERMANY
    With Germany being a newb, I decided to go for the strategy that effectively makes Germany a giant blocker. They were to maintain a force from SZ 10 through Kiel and down to Alsace. Their goals initially are three fold:
    1 )  Gain the upper-hand in the naval engagement, preventing the UK from dropping troops into Europe/Berlin

    2 ) Hold off the French for as long as possible with strategic maneuvering and minimal reinforcements

    3 ) Help take down Moscow

    NAVY: From the beginning, Germany purchased a battleship a round. The rest was spent on any additional navy needed to maintain the upperhand in the sea, and whatever remained was evenly divided into land units for both Russian and French fronts.

    At times, the UK did not keep up, so we would reduce the naval purchase to maybe two subs, allowing more land units to be purchased. If the UK dumped it all on navy in round, then Germany would have to buy two battleships or whatever gave them the advantage in hits. In all, the naval race saw Germany with an advantage for most of the game by 2-4 hits.

    THE BATTLE THAT NEVER WAS. The game was called due to factors on the other fronts, but we rolled up the battle for fun anyway. By the time of the ultimate naval showdown, which would have happened on Round 9, Germany had NINE battleships, TWO cruisers, and FIVE submarines. The UK had SEVEN battleships, but a few more cruisers and some subs.

    OBSERVATION: Germany managed to stop all Allied advances East of SZ9 for the entire game.

    DEFENSIVE: Germany avoided the neutrals, and skipped Belgium on Round 1, instead consolidating forces. They then amassed a large army and took and held Belgium for most of the game. With the UK going 90% navy, it was just the French, and they could not bypass the Germany army in Belgium for the longest time. With minimal reinforcements, by Round 8 Germany had only lost Ruhr and Alsace to France.

    OBSERVATION: Germany can be an effective blocker for the CP, and if underestimated by the Entendre, could switch to the offensive. France spent 100% on land units, all directed towards Germany. But with the UK not lending support, and with the US forces going elsewhere as needed, it took a full-on France 8-9 turns to push into German territory.

    RUSSIA: Germany plowed into Russia with its starting forces and an additional 2-4 from Berlin thereafter. The goal is to weaken while Austria does the heavy lifting. The first disaster was resounding luck by the Russia player in the Ukraine. That “I’m just going to attack and hope to contest the zone” turned into total annihilation of the main CP advance on Moscow. Ugh. It then turned into a cat-and-mouse maneuvering by both powers until a late Ottoman surge North.

    OBSERVATION: Well, helping take down Moscow didn’t work out too well, but that was attributed to luck. Having done well at 1 & 2, the strategy was effective.

    AUSTRIA
    With Germany creating a defensive wall, Austria is to do the same in the Med and get a naval advantage and take SZ17. With Albania, Greece, and any southern flank protected, move into Italy as much as possible depending on Allied support, while taking out Russia. Once it becomes a 1-front war swing on down and expand. Goals:

    1 ) Take control of the Med.

    2 ) Sack Russia

    1. Take down Italy

    THE MED:  Austria purchased one battleship a turn until they had the solid upper hand. I believe I ended up with five. With France going all land, it was simply waiting for the right moment to strike. Italy could not afford to buy navy, and the UK was trying to salvage the Middle East with as little money as possible. By Round 5, SZ 17 was in Austrian hands. Troops were steadily walking from Trieste to Tuscany, and were able to scare off a US landing in Africa.

    OBSERVATION: Having the naval superiority really helped with the land offensive. Instead of having to send a stream of units to protect Greece/Albania, 100% of land forces could go towards Italy or Russia as needed. The cost of the navy more than offset the amount of troops that would have been needed to protect those territories.

    SACK RUSSIA: As noted for Germany, this didn’t happen due to luck. What a disaster! However, the second chance came about because the Ottoman’s were on the rise and this goal was shifted to the Ottoman’s about Round 4 or so and Italy became Austria’s only goal.

    ITALY: With naval dominance, Italy got pounded hard. It was a straight march to Rome, with a lot of landing. Once Rome fell, there were no more mines to contend with, and support flowed from Trieste to Piedmont quite well.

    OTTOMANS
    The biggest non-navy threat to the Ottoman’s is India. Their goals are two-fold:

    1 ) Take India

    2 ) Take Egypt and a foothold in Africa

    3 ) Added objective due to Germany/Austria failure – Take Moscow

    INDIA/EGYPT: All of the movements for these goals are highly conditional. The Ottoman’s had pushed into Romania and Russia before doing a sweep down into Persia to sack India. It was pretty easy to do since the UK abandoned the theatre as a whole.
    Egypt fell around the same time, and by game’s end, the Ottoman’s were collecting over 42 ICs / turn. They had Egypt on down to South Africa and Angola, Arabia, Persia, India, Ukraine, Sevastopol.

    MOSCOW: The final, game-deciding battle happened in Sevastopol. A decent, Russian army moved in to contest Sev and slow down the Ottoman assault. With 40+ ICs/turn and no one left to attack, the Ottoman’s were coming, and had two transports to drop units into Sev each round.
    An entire Ottoman army of 30 units was obliterated by God-like rolling. Russia hit on 20/22 @ 2’s, and perfect 10/10 3’s, and the Ottoman chance was vaporized. The Ottoman’s, with air superiority, a dozen artillery, and 17 inf @ 3’s hit back for an underwhelming 14 hits.  Russia was now alive and well as the Americans were landing steadily in Europe. With no secondary army pushing toward Moscow, it was all over but the heavy drinking!


  • 2020 2018 2017 '15

    I’m going to post more about “What the Hell were the Allies doing?!?”

    And another about how I see the overall game going had luck not played any part of killing the CPs.

    I’ll also try and touch on the many options available.  The beauty of A&A is the number of options available to each player.  Italy was the sacrificial pawn for the Allies. It really boiled down to all vs. Berlin while the Southern half of the board gets out of control.

    So take it for what it is: a write up of a game played. It’s not a doctrine for how to win. I’m stating that I think the CP navy could work. It’s not a complete waste.



  • About that…

    What the hell were the Allies doing?
    Britain should never spend a single IPC in the Atlantic unless London is in danger, something extremely unlikely since you start with like 14 units there and Germany starts with no transports. Simple math dictates this: Even without an opposing German navy, it’s more expensive to move troops to Europe (transport cost) than it is in India (where you can walk them). Not only that, but by building in Britain you’re making your army split between France and Britain: fine for defense or small flanks with Britain, but inefficient for actually advancing. Whereas in India you have one army that can advance (and take more money, allowing you to advance easier) on the Ottomans since Britain actually makes more than them.

    I also am incredibly confused how Austria was planning to advance on Russia when you spent 12 IPCs/turn on navy and apparently sent troops at Italy. I can only conclude Russia had no idea what they were doing. I’m guessing they tried to defend Poland/didn’t consolidate everything in Ukraine?


  • 2020 2018 2017 '15

    Please spare me the “If I was there I would have…” Yes, yes, you’re brilliant. But any mention of “I would have done X or Y” would completely have changed the course of the game, so is irrelevant to this write up. Try and rephrase to a more helpful suggestive tone of: “The next time a similar situation arises, you might consider doing this instead”

    Also keep in mind that I’m abstracting a 12+ hour game as complex as Axis & Allies into a simple write up of a few pages.

    KNOW THIS : I have been playing Axis & Allies for thirty years. I own every version, and have played (excluding online stuff) over five hundred games. Trust me when I say there were no glaring strategic errors, no blunders, and everything made sense at the time the movements were made.

    Anyone who places all of their strategic decisions on “simple math” will fail at Axis & Allies. Period. To remove the option for the UK to place ANYTHING in London is an asinine assertion. Yes, transports have a cost, but once paid it’s done. The real question is at what strategic value do you place on being able to deploy troops a dozen spaces closer to Berlin (and in a myriad of locations in two turns) rather than through India? Please remember the victory conditions: Berlin + one other. The Ottoman’s could be made completely irrelevant through non-engagement if they get Austria.

    So please, spare me the epeen stroking about how we didn’t play with “your” optimized, best strategy and imply that everyone that played in my game was stupid. I’ve taken about 4 hours to write up a post-game review for everyone to enjoy, another data point to add to your knowledge, not to come down from on-high about the perfect strategy.

    As someone who has played so many games, I like trying new and different strategies rather than parrot what others tell me is the best. Instead of countering theorycraft with more theorycraft, I’ll stick with writing up what happened in the actual game.  Thanks.


    (I wrote this yesterday) I’ve been on the forums for a long time, so I can hear the questions now, so I’ll go ahead and observe:
    WHAT WERE THE ALLIES DOING THAT WHOLE TIME?

    UK
    The UK dabbled for a round or so in India, but still purchased navy every round. At about 3, UK said NOT ON MY WATCH, and did full naval builds to counter Germany. We are talking at the full exclusion of anything being placed in India from 3 (or maybe even 2) onwards.

    The GOOD: The German navy was effectively contained from threatening anything. Eventually, perhaps round 6, the UK shifted to keeping them at bay instead of actively trying to destroy them; this meant they could start dropping 6ish units / round onto France.

    The BAD: Because nothing went to India or the Med, SZ17 fell to Austrian control, and the Ottomans WENT WILD. By the end of the game, there were NO ALLIED UNITS IN AFRICA. Because all money went against the German fleet, there was no UK presence in the Med, either. And lastly, there was no land unit support for France and/or Italy.

    FRANCE
    The French went all land, all against Germany. Absolutely everything and the kitchen sink.
    The GOOD: France, with very little aid, was pushing into Germany solo. It was touch-and-go for a long time, but then slowly pushed forward.

    The BAD: France did not support Italy at all.  Sorry buddy, you�re $^&*ed! Italy fell hard to Austrian and yes, Ottoman transports. It also took France 8 rounds to start advancing.

    ITALY
    The BAD: Italy�s only goal was survival, and they failed. They did nothing vs. Germany, and due to the all-in nature of the Allied players, was left alone to die. They could do nothing but fight and die on the retreat.

    US
    The US went for an all-transports approach. With the UK blocking in the German navy, they had a lot of land units heading towards Europe.
    The GOOD: They brought a lot of stuff into Europe, however, they had to go to Southern France to hold off a surging Austria that had annihilated Italy (literally every Italian territory was taken by Austria).

    The BAD: with no protection, they couldn�t support Africa or Italy in the Med. France was all land, and the UK fleet was all needed to fend off the German fleet. Austria had a sizeable navy, that if the US were to counter, it wouldn�t have had enough land units to save Italy. A lose-lose there.



  • @Whackamatt:

    Anyone who places all of their strategic decisions on “simple math” will fail at Axis & Allies. Period.

    Like it or not, A&A is a game about economics (math) and statistics (math). The less mathematically efficient a strategy is (in total, for example you can sacrifice direct economic stat efficiency to save positional efficiency by building mechs and tanks in Global), the more likely it is to fail. If I’m missing something here, please tell me.

    @Whackamatt:

    To remove the option for the UK to place ANYTHING in London is an asinine assertion.

    I’ll admit, I went too far with the extreme here. If the Atlantic is safe and you have the money, transports to move the troops off Britain/Canada are good. But they’re gravy, not the primary focus, in the early game (~Rd1-8). Also, if you are being strangled by USW (probably not going to happen without a house rule to boost it), it’s important to break free of that for economic reasons.
    @Whackamatt:

    Yes, transports have a cost, but once paid it’s done.

    Except that you have to defend them if Germany builds navy to threaten them, sinking more IPCs into there. If you don’t have those transports, you aren’t forced to spend on navy to “counter” German navy.

    @Whackamatt:

    The real question is at what strategic value do you place on being able to deploy troops a dozen spaces closer to Berlin (and in a myriad of locations in two turns) rather than through India? Please remember the victory conditions: Berlin + one other. The Ottoman’s could be made completely irrelevant through non-engagement if they get Austria.

    Due to the nature of combat in this game, Berlin is a tough nut to crack and you will need a significant economic advantage to do so. So that’s where the primary benefit of building in India and attacking the Ottomans comes from: Economy. Persia, Mesopotamia, Trans-Jordan and Arabia are pretty easy pickups, and eventually you’ll get Ankara and Smyrna. So 5-7 IPCs most of the time increasing to 12 before you can take Constantinople. This also means you aren’t losing these territories (and Africa) to the Ottomans and allowing them to get an economic advantage. There’s not much Britain can do in Europe to take Germany and Austria when the Ottomans are making more than them and sending it all to defend Vienna (or even navy to stop America). The Victory Conditions (Berlin + 1 other) are basically impossible to get without an economic advantage, so my strategy focuses on acquiring that before taking the cities themselves.

    @Whackamatt:

    So please, spare me the epeen stroking about how we didn’t play with “your” optimized, best strategy and imply that everyone that played in my game was stupid. I’ve taken about 4 hours to write up a post-game review for everyone to enjoy, another data point to add to your knowledge, not to come down from on-high about the perfect strategy.

    I’m sorry you felt that way, but I didn’t imply your group was stupid, just that they played poorly. I play poorly all the time (that’s why I don’t win balanced games as much  :-D) I guess I should have waited for your Allies comments so I could respond in a more structured manner, so I apologize if I sounded arrogant. But if you didn’t want public criticism/commentary, what was the point of this write-up?
    @Whackamatt:

    KNOW THIS : I have been playing Axis & Allies for thirty years. I own every version, and have played (excluding online stuff) over five hundred games. Trust me when I say there were no glaring strategic errors, no blunders, and everything made sense at the time the movements were made.

    Please, spare me the ego stroking that because you’ve played so long, you can no longer make strategic errors or blunders, or look back and realize mistakes even though they looked alright at the time. (THIS IS NOT A SERIOUS ARGUMENT, just showing the parallels between your argument and what you thought was bad about mine. Fighting fire with fire online is a dangerous path if people aren’t reasonable)

    @Whackamatt:

    As someone who has played so many games, I like trying new and different strategies rather than parrot what others tell me is the best. Instead of countering theorycraft with more theorycraft, I’ll stick with writing up what happened in the actual game.  Thanks.

    I appreciate this, but my comments aren’t based on theorycraft; they’re based on actual game experience. I don’t know what made you assume I didn’t actually play this game; I do. But thank you for the write-up so the community has a detailed example of what happens in a game like this.


    @Whackamatt:

    FRANCE
    The French went all land, all against Germany. Absolutely everything and the kitchen sink.
    The GOOD: France, with very little aid, was pushing into Germany solo. It was touch-and-go for a long time, but then slowly pushed forward.

    The BAD: France did not support Italy at all.  Sorry buddy, you�re $^&*ed! Italy fell hard to Austrian and yes, Ottoman transports. It also took France 8 rounds to start advancing.

    What did the French navy do? Supporting the Italian navy would stall the Austrians/force them to spend way more if they want SZ17. That leaves a couple extra subs in the Atlantic though.

    @Whackamatt:

    US
    The US went for an all-transports approach. With the UK blocking in the German navy, they had a lot of land units heading towards Europe.
    The GOOD: They brought a lot of stuff into Europe, however, they had to go to Southern France to hold off a surging Austria that had annihilated Italy (literally every Italian territory was taken by Austria).

    The BAD: with no protection, they couldn�t support Africa or Italy in the Med. France was all land, and the UK fleet was all needed to fend off the German fleet. Austria had a sizeable navy, that if the US were to counter, it wouldn�t have had enough land units to save Italy. A lose-lose there.

    In my opinion America has two general goals: Keep Italy alive and keep France alive. If they’re both doing well, then US is free to be more aggressive and start landings in the Balkans. If France/Italy is doing poorly, US needs to help them out by getting troops there. A prerequisite of getting troops to Italy though is holding SZ17, so the US should build enough navy to hold it if necessary, and the rest on transports, troops and escorts for them if necessary.

    @Whackamatt:

    What did Russia do?


  • 2020 2018 2017 '15

    Anyone who places all of their strategic decisions on “simple math” will fail at Axis & Allies. Period.
    Like it or not, A&A is a game about economics (math) and statistics (math). The less mathematically efficient a strategy is (in total, for example you can sacrifice direct economic stat efficiency to save positional efficiency by building mechs and tanks in Global), the more likely it is to fail. If I’m missing something here, please tell me.

    Well, CC, I think we’re falling victim to the shortcomings of a lively discussion online. I’ll only reply to things that I feel will create a worthwhile discussion and not get into the tit-for tat things. I assume you love the game too, because we’re on the forums of A&A, and I haven’t really met too many on here that are terrible people.

    Some of my comments that you may have viewed as the ego-stroking variety were in response to the insinuation that my play group was stupid. The point was, there were not any mistakes along the lines of “I forgot to move my transport!” or leaving a capital wide open. The play was solid, though some strategies may not have been.

    MATHEMATICS
    It is clear that A&A has a lot of economic factors to it. My point was that you can’t make ALL of your decisions based upon just the simple math.

    Anyone who places all of their strategic decisions on “simple math” will fail at Axis & Allies. Period.
    Like it or not, A&A is a game about economics (math) and statistics (math). The less mathematically efficient a strategy is (in total, for example you can sacrifice direct economic stat efficiency to save positional efficiency by building mechs and tanks in Global), the more likely it is to fail. If I’m missing something here, please tell me.

    What you’re missing is what I can intangibles, or added value you can’t assign an IC to.

    While every piece has a value, it is the strategic value of intangibles that also need to be considered to determine a “best course forward” in a game.

    Example 1 1914: Transports cost money, but it’s not just the ability to move troops, it allows you access to areas you couldn’t get to otherwise, and the ability to threaten MULTIPLE territories at once. One loaded transport by the UK can hit 3 German territories, 3 Russian TTs if German owned, and the neutrals of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark if applicable. Without a naval counter, Germany has to defend ALL of that, or else buy navy.  So if Germany has no navy, or they lost it, the value of a single UK transport goes up exponentially, no?

    AND, at times you can influence your opponent’s actions and spending with yours. What if your transport buy is a ruse. If he does nothing, you benefit, if he buys navy, France/US are prepared to make that a foolish buy with their own naval purchases, etc.

    Example 2 G40: I 100% disagree that if you sacrifice economic efficiency for positional efficiency the more likely you are to fail. It times it is absolutely necessary to win the game. One common G40 strat as Germany is all tanks/mechs to head to Moscow. There are so many moving parts in an Axis & Allies game that you simply cannot look at just the IC value.

    To further explain, if Germany uses mechs/tanks for their added movement, they get to the fight faster. You can hasten the assault on Moscow. If you look at JUST the cost of the units, you may determine that you will have less units in your assault than if you had purchased INF/ART instead.  That is true.

    HOWEVER, you are paying for speed. While you may buy more units, that is more than offset by the additional rounds needed to get to Moscow from Berlin. If Russia has three more rounds to buy, then you’ll end up facing 30 more defensive infantry than if you had raced there and attacked three rounds sooner.

    To maximize a Moscow assault, I time my buys. When inf/art won’t get there, I switch to mech/tank, and for the round prior to the fight, I purchase as many planes as necessary. Per your statement, that should make my assault more likely to fail, but in fact it does the opposite. More expensive, yes. Less units purchased, yes. But ultimately, those 8 inf I could have had in Berlin won’t help me in Moscow the next round.

    Everything is a trade off in this game. The key to the most effective strategy is realizing what tools you have available and the best time to use each one. If you need to take out Moscow in 2 rounds otherwise a stack of US fighters will land in Moscow, then you’d be foolish to purchase inf/art and take 5 rounds to march there.  Conversely, if they already have a more sizeable stack than you, but very low income (say Japan is also knocking on their door), then you can afford the slow march and spend the saved money on other fronts.

    SO IN SUM (as I suffer from logorrhea), the key to most A&A games is knowing when to trade your economic efficiency for positional efficiency.  Sometimes as the Axis there is only a window of opportunity, and once closed, the Allied economic might will be your fate.

    A NOTE ON TRANSPORTS AND THEORYCRAFTING

    It is more expensive to move units via transport, but only at the cost of the transports. In a game where transports provide no hits or defensive rolls, you should never have more than needed to transport the number of units you can buy in a round. And if you’re splitting fronts between the UK and India, not even that much. A total of 24 IC s over the course of the game isn’t that much. Once purchased, unless you’re careless, you don’t need to buy them every round. A transport on round one that moves 20 infantry in the game added only about 0.3 ICs to each inf they moved.

    “I appreciate this, but my comments aren’t based on theorycraft; they’re based on actual game experience.”

    Theorycrafting is usually a negative attempt to tear down a proposed strategy, without adequately taking into account the negatives of their proposed counter strategy. If it is not intentionally negative, it often involves hypotheticals to the point of becoming strategically irrelevant.

    It’s not saying your ideas are based on theory, it’s saying that you can propose hypothetical counters to any stated move without the confines of an actual board setup in front of you.  The game has a myriad number of options, so when a specific is stated, someone can always come up with a “I got in the last word” type of counter. It usually occurs along the lines of “This strategy would never work against me, because I would simply do X or build Y.”

    EXAMPLE: I state that you only pay for transports once.
    COUNTER: Except that you have to defend them if Germany builds navy to threaten them, sinking more IPCs into there. If you don’t have those transports, you aren’t forced to spend on navy to “counter” German navy

    We’re into “what if” territory. Your counter is all highly conditional. It could happen, if the Allies buy transports, CP builds a navy, and then the Allies build protection. It could also not happen. What if the CP say screw it, I’m not going to build a navy, I’ll stick to all INF? Or the Allies want the CP to waste money on navy and simply don’t build protection? See my point?

    In G40, a theorycrafting example is:
    STRATEGY: I’d go heavy navy as the US in the Atlantic in a KGF (Kill Germany First move).
    COUNTER: Oh yeah, well my all-bomber German strategy would shut that down because you couldn’t cross the Atlantic.
    COUNTER-COUNTER: Really? Then you have no infantry left for the Russia front!

    After a few exchanges, the scenarios are so extreme as to have lost most of their merit for discussion. But really, no strategy happens in a vacuum or survives contact with the enemy.

    It is also partly in how theorycrafting is presented. It is rarely stated like: “that’s an intriguing idea, but you’d have to be wary of X Y and Z as possible counters.”  Instead it’s usually “That would NEVER work (i.e. you’re stupid), because I would simply (dismissive idea about how easy it is to counter) (insert theorycrafting #1).”

    LONDON VERSUS INDIA
    My open ended question could highlight my theory crafting idea.

    I believe there are benefits to deploying in either, but I don’t think feel that the strategy is as cut and dry as you make it out to be.

    Part of the advantage of transports landing in Germany is that it is another front for Germany. Less troops going to Russia/France means they will be collecting less money. Instead of growing the UK economy by destroying the Ottomans first, instead you are keeping German grown in check via UK support. It’s a trade off. How that plays out is up to numerous factors. You may have a preferred way to play the UK, but I can’t state one is superior to the other.

    The Ottomans have usually done well in my games, even when the UK is attacking them. I dispute that you’ll eventually get Ankara and Smyrna as a given. A lot of luck is involved along the way, as well as other factors like Russian interference or gained Ottoman money by going into Russia.

    Question: How would your UK strategy change if Austria gets control of SZ17 with transports? All Ottoman forces go straight east, and their coast is protected and reinforced by Austria?

    See the above? I tried phrasing it in a positive way. If I were to theorycraft against you, it would have looked like “Whatever, that would never happen. Austria always gets SZ17 in my games and starts landing support and threatening Egypt. You’d never take Smyrna or Ankara.”

    Instead I try to strength strategies by mentioning things to consider.

    VICTORY CONDITIONS

    I think you’re short-selling the Allied ability to put the hurt on Germany. There are two over-arching strategies for the Allies, Berlin + Austria, Berlin + Constantinople.

    “There’s not much Britain can do in Europe to take Germany and Austria when the Ottomans are making more than them and sending it all to defend Vienna (or even navy to stop America).”

    Questions: How long does it take for the Ottomans to make more than Britain. By the time they reach that income, how much support have they really been able to send to Vienna? Couldn’t the US send support to Africa down south and France support Egypt?

    Ultimately I’m not saying your strategy is bad. In fact it is quite sound. However, you seem to think it better at the exclusion of all other options. How many times have you tried to take Berlin/Vienna at the exclusion of the Ottoman’s? Have you tried to adapt the strategy if it didn’t work? I need evidence to prove something won’t work before dismissing it.



  • @Whackamatt:

    MATHEMATICS
    It is clear that A&A has a lot of economic factors to it. My point was that you can�t make ALL of your decisions based upon just the simple math.

    SO IN SUM (as I suffer from logorrhea), the key to most A&A games is knowing when to trade your economic efficiency for positional efficiency.  Sometimes as the Axis there is only a window of opportunity, and once closed, the Allied economic might will be your fate.

    We’re actually seeing eye to eye here apparently. You called it strategic advantage, I (perhaps over-) simplified it to effective efficiency that can change over the course of the game. Like a transport that threatens 3 places is more efficient than one that only threatens 1, or mechs/tanks being more situationally efficient than inf/art. I agree that straight stat efficiency isn’t the only thing, but other factors can change the overall efficiency, even though that value is impossible to truly quantify.

    @Whackamatt:

    A NOTE ON TRANSPORTS AND THEORYCRAFTING

    It is more expensive to move units via transport, but only at the cost of the transports. In a game where transports provide no hits or defensive rolls, you should never have more than needed to transport the number of units you can buy in a round. And if you�re splitting fronts between the UK and India, not even that much. A total of 24 IC s over the course of the game isn�t that much. Once purchased, unless you�re careless, you don�t need to buy them every round. A transport on round one that moves 20 infantry in the game added only about 0.3 ICs to each inf they moved.

    �I appreciate this, but my comments aren’t based on theorycraft; they’re based on actual game experience.�

    Theorycrafting is usually a negative attempt to tear down a proposed strategy, without adequately taking into account the negatives of their proposed counter strategy. If it is not intentionally negative, it often involves hypotheticals to the point of becoming strategically irrelevant.

    It�s not saying your ideas are based on theory, it�s saying that you can propose hypothetical counters to any stated move without the confines of an actual board setup in front of you.  The game has a myriad number of options, so when a specific is stated, someone can always come up with a �I got in the last word� type of counter. It usually occurs along the lines of �This strategy would never work against me, because I would simply do X or build Y.�

    EXAMPLE: I state that you only pay for transports once.
    COUNTER: Except that you have to defend them if Germany builds navy to threaten them, sinking more IPCs into there. If you don’t have those transports, you aren’t forced to spend on navy to “counter” German navy

    We�re into �what if� territory. Your counter is all highly conditional. It could happen, if the Allies buy transports, CP builds a navy, and then the Allies build protection. It could also not happen. What if the CP say screw it, I�m not going to build a navy, I�ll stick to all INF? Or the Allies want the CP to waste money on navy and simply don�t build protection? See my point?

    I was trying to make these comments within the context of the game you outlined. Germany built navy every turn, so for Britain to achieve their goal of moving troops to Europe, they had to continually build up navy, increasing the cost of those transports.

    @Whackamatt:

    LONDON VERSUS INDIA
    My open ended question could highlight my theory crafting idea.

    I believe there are benefits to deploying in either, but I don�t think feel that the strategy is as cut and dry as you make it out to be.

    Part of the advantage of transports landing in Germany is that it is another front for Germany. Less troops going to Russia/France means they will be collecting less money. Instead of growing the UK economy by destroying the Ottomans first, instead you are keeping German grown in check via UK support. It�s a trade off. How that plays out is up to numerous factors. You may have a preferred way to play the UK, but I can�t state one is superior to the other.

    The Ottomans have usually done well in my games, even when the UK is attacking them. I dispute that you�ll eventually get Ankara and Smyrna as a given. A lot of luck is involved along the way, as well as other factors like Russian interference or gained Ottoman money by going into Russia.

    If you want British transports to open another front, you’ll have to face mines at least once, and in my experience Germany moves their Western Front reinforcements through Kiel anyway so it’d be difficult to take and hold so that you can stop rolling mines. Britain also has to consider the potential remnant German fleet from the Rd1 naval battle that could be defending the coast.

    Britain starts with 30 (and climbing) IPCs against the Ottoman peak of around 23 (and falling from there) IPCs. Britain should manage to push them back eventually, probably get Ankara Rd ~7-9

    @Whackamatt:

    Question: How would your UK strategy change if Austria gets control of SZ17 with transports? All Ottoman forces go straight east, and their coast is protected and reinforced by Austria?

    Never happened because Austria is already hard-pressed to beat Russia when spending 0 IPCs on ships. France and Britain can reinforce it with their starting navies. If it somehow did the strategy wouldn’t change much; I don’t rely on attacking the Ottoman coast much, just pushing them back overland with more troops than they produce. US would have to accommodate for the Austrian navy, and Russia or France would hopefully be strong.

    @Whackamatt:

    VICTORY CONDITIONS

    I think you�re short-selling the Allied ability to put the hurt on Germany. There are two over-arching strategies for the Allies, Berlin + Austria, Berlin + Constantinople.

    �There’s not much Britain can do in Europe to take Germany and Austria when the Ottomans are making more than them and sending it all to defend Vienna (or even navy to stop America).�

    Questions: How long does it take for the Ottomans to make more than Britain. By the time they reach that income, how much support have they really been able to send to Vienna? Couldn�t the US send support to Africa down south and France support Egypt?

    It happened in your game, how long did it take for the Ottomans to overcome the British income? If Ottos don’t get anything from the Balkans or Russia, the only need Persia+India to pass Britain.

    @Whackamatt:

    Ultimately I�m not saying your strategy is bad. In fact it is quite sound. However, you seem to think it better at the exclusion of all other options. How many times have you tried to take Berlin/Vienna at the exclusion of the Ottoman�s? Have you tried to adapt the strategy if it didn�t work? I need evidence to prove something won�t work before dismissing it.

    Since you seem to attribute the Allied victory in your game to luck, shouldn’t that be evidence that it is not a sound strategy?

    Still wondering what Russia did as well.


  • 2020 2018 2017 '15

    “I agree that straight stat efficiency isn’t the only thing, but other factors can change the overall efficiency, even though that value is impossible to truly quantify.”

    We agree here, but that’s not what you said originally.

    “Germany built navy every turn, so for Britain to achieve their goal of moving troops to Europe, they had to continually build up navy, increasing the cost of those transports.”

    Their goal was NOT to move troops to Europe. Their stated goal was to simply counter the German navy, and they did. They didn’t buy additional transports until round 6 or so. Actually, they may not have purchased any and just used their starting transports and moved the Indian one around the horn as well. I really didn’t pay attention much to them around the UK, as I was Austria/Ottomans.

    “If you want British transports to open another front, you’ll have to face mines at least once, and in my experience Germany moves their Western Front reinforcements through Kiel anyway so it’d be difficult to take and hold so that you can stop rolling mines. Britain also has to consider the potential remnant German fleet from the Rd1 naval battle that could be defending the coast.”

    All true, but none of that excludes the strategy to my mind. Mines are not as scary as they are made out to be, and with no actual threat to London, especially if you’re amphibing every round, you can afford the 1/6 loss of transport and guys. The whole point is not to simply march into Berlin solo, but to offer another front, another space where Germany has to keep MORE units than they can buy in a round.  Yes, they most likely will move troops Berlin->Kiel->Rhur etc, but if you are able to land with more than they can buy in a turn, or threaten to do so, Germany must now leave enough troops to counter that, which can usually add up to much more than they can purchase in a turn, i.e. less frontline units for them against France/Russia.

    It will certainly be more expensive, and there will be less pressure on the Ottoman’s, but the trade off is more pressure on Germany, either reducing their advance into Russia, or bolstering a French advance.
    They both have their merits and play differently. I’d say it comes down to play style and overall strategy, with one not being superior to another.

    “Britain starts with 30 (and climbing) IPCs against the Ottoman peak of around 23 (and falling from there) IPCs. Britain should manage to push them back eventually, probably get Ankara Rd ~7-9”

    That math doesn’t work for me. In every game to date, Ottoman’s have taken Romania, Sevastopol, and sometimes Greece. Throw in Bulgaria, and the Ottoman’s routinely make 27 and perhaps fall from there.

    “Question: How would your UK strategy change if Austria gets control of SZ17 with transports? All Ottoman forces go straight east, and their coast is protected and reinforced by Austria?”

    “Never happened because Austria is already hard-pressed to beat Russia when spending 0 IPCs on ships. France and Britain can reinforce it with their starting navies. If it somehow did the strategy wouldn’t change much; I don’t rely on attacking the Ottoman coast much, just pushing them back overland with more troops than they produce. US would have to accommodate for the Austrian navy, and Russia or France would hopefully be strong.”

    The point is there are trade-offs for everything. I’m trying to encourage discussion on strategy. You have too many assumptions here.
    Why is Austria “hard-pressed” to beat Russia with full German support? Since the UK is doing nothing against them, couldn’t Germany do a lot of that heavy lifting? Yes. France is far enough away that Germany can hold them off solo until Russia falls, correct? Beating Russia as soon as possible is imperative for the CP. I don’t think taking Paris first is really viable with all of the close support they can get.
    Luck plays a part in all strategies, as you yourself stated you hope Russia and France are strong.

    “It happened in your game, how long did it take for the Ottomans to overcome the British income? If Ottos don’t get anything from the Balkans or Russia, the only need Persia+India to pass Britain.”

    In our game, where the UK abandon the southern half of the board after round 2? Between 4-5 rounds they were making 30+. Even had Ukraine towards the end of the game.

    “Ultimately I’m not saying your strategy is bad. In fact it is quite sound. However, you seem to think it better at the exclusion of all other options. How many times have you tried to take Berlin/Vienna at the exclusion of the Ottoman’s? Have you tried to adapt the strategy if it didn’t work? I need evidence to prove something won’t work before dismissing it.”

    “Since you seem to attribute the Allied victory in your game to luck, shouldn’t that be evidence that it is not a sound strategy?”

    What terrible logic.  Please tell me, in a dice game, exactly what strategy does NOT involve luck? People seem to think that luck only plays a factor if the dice are “out of whack”, extreme wins or lossses. That’s incorrect. Luck is still involved in getting the dice to conform to statistical averages, too.

    My point above was saying you seem to be set on knowing the “best” strategy of going through India, to which I’m asking: How often have you NOT gone through India and what happened? Have you tried it, or just convinced yourself with math that you shouldn’t even try?

    As to this game, I’ll rephrase: The game was shortened because of extreme allied luck. Cut short, actually. When I try to envision what the board would look like had the dice been average, it was still anybody’s game.

    The real questions for me going forward are how the Allies can counter it. A replay of this game for another all-in UK, perhaps another where France/US tries to support Italy. The Americans can take on the Ottomans in Africa. And even trying the ignore a German navy and just build a solid ground force while the US builds the naval strength. What can Germany really threaten if given Atlantic control?


  • 2020 2018 2017 '15

    RUSSIA did what Russia does, play defensive and pray for great dice.  Their strategy worked well.  They retreated straight out of the gate and consolidated. After initial luck, they destroyed the main German AH advance and had a stack equal to the remaining German/Austria units. For several rounds they did a cat-and-mouse game where both sides were equal, but the advantage was always on defense. Livonia, Belarus, and Ukraine all exchanged hands several times.

    Until round 5-6 when the Ottoman’s sent a giant stack north after dominating the southern half of the board. Then their stack was crushed by brilliant rolling and all palpable threats to Russia were removed no Round 8.



  • @Whackamatt:

    �I agree that straight stat efficiency isn’t the only thing, but other factors can change the overall efficiency, even though that value is impossible to truly quantify.�

    We agree here, but that�s not what you said originally.

    It was, but I worded it weird and you misinterpreted it. My fault I suppose.

    Their goal was NOT to move troops to Europe. Their stated goal was to simply counter the German navy, and they did. They didn�t buy additional transports until round 6 or so. Actually, they may not have purchased any and just used their starting transports and moved the Indian one around the horn as well. I really didn�t pay attention much to them around the UK, as I was Austria/Ottomans.

    I guess my point then is this: Britain spent the entire game “countering” German navy, but what did it really accomplish in the end? Protecting US transports who are already 2-3 turns behind the German navy that is being built, at the cost of losing income and not gaining income in the south. Is that really worth it? Next game Germany builds navy, try ignoring it as Britain and see how things pan out. Let America defend their transports if they need to.

    �Britain starts with 30 (and climbing) IPCs against the Ottoman peak of around 23 (and falling from there) IPCs. Britain should manage to push them back eventually, probably get Ankara Rd ~7-9�

    That math doesn�t work for me. In every game to date, Ottoman�s have taken Romania, Sevastopol, and sometimes Greece. Throw in Bulgaria, and the Ottoman�s routinely make 27 and perhaps fall from there.

    Too many variables. Austria doesn’t have that money then, Russia might be able to contest it, who knows what the German situation is, etc.

    The point is there are trade-offs for everything. I�m trying to encourage discussion on strategy. You have too many assumptions here.
    Why is Austria �hard-pressed� to beat Russia with full German support? Since the UK is doing nothing against them, couldn�t Germany do a lot of that heavy lifting? Yes. France is far enough away that Germany can hold them off solo until Russia falls, correct? Beating Russia as soon as possible is imperative for the CP. I don�t think taking Paris first is really viable with all of the close support they can get.
    Luck plays a part in all strategies, as you yourself stated you hope Russia and France are strong.

    Full German support still takes a long time (probably longer than Austria since Germany starts with fewer troops as close but a larger income), all the while France can push you back alone. Russia+France start with more units and more income than Germany, and advancing needs a significantly larger army than the defender, so whichever way Germany doesn’t go will lose hard if Austria doesn’t cover it. Austria can’t cover Italy and France easily.
    By hope I mean I hope they’re playing well and taking the advantages given them.

    �Ultimately I’m not saying your strategy is bad. In fact it is quite sound. However, you seem to think it better at the exclusion of all other options. How many times have you tried to take Berlin/Vienna at the exclusion of the Ottoman’s? Have you tried to adapt the strategy if it didn’t work? I need evidence to prove something won’t work before dismissing it.�

    Considering it hasn’t lost in my group (whether playing for it or against it), we haven’t needed to come up with other Allied strategies.

    My point above was saying you seem to be set on knowing the �best� strategy of going through India, to which I�m asking: How often have you NOT gone through India and what happened? Have you tried it, or just convinced yourself with math that you shouldn�t even try?

    I haven’t tried it; the math of a 100% win rate has convinced me otherwise. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.



  • From a simple math min/max perspective which some are intersested in, a naval strat is extremly unwise. Simple plus/minus math will tell you you need to add appr. 81 IPC worth of naval as CP in total accross the board (using the starting naval as ref) to even break even which means if you wanna “controll” something you will need to add more than the competition.
    As CP you cant ever get into a building race with the allies as your starting income is so much less, but rather you need to as fast as possible close the incomecap.

    Consider sz17. (I will assume the ottoman and russian navy cancel each out). Allies can after turn1 have 2 BS (France+Italy)+3Cruisers(UK+Italy+France which means AH wont be able to break even, even if the go all out navy. After turn2 the allies will have additional 1BS+Crusie (UK) in the zone and again AH wont be able to break even, even if they spent all during 2 turns. After this france plus Italy can with great ease together spend equal to AH for each turn.
    So I have to ask how in hell are AH suppose to get controll over sz17?=)

    I suppose you can counter and say “the allies dont counter my moves in my games” but then what is the point of argue the value of strats. I can  ask what do you think about my “attack-AH-first-as-Italy strat”, assuming AH dont defend their borders?=)


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